Pope Francis on Shouting Out Our Prayers

Today might be the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord on the liturgical calendar, but for many it is Super Bowl Sunday.

As most Americans including myself are eagerly preparing for kickoff at 5:30 PM CT, I am reminded of Pope Francis’ homily a few days ago. In speaking about prayer, Pope Francis encouraged the faithful to be more vocal in their praise of God.

‘But, Father! This is for the Renewal in the Spirit folks, not for all Christians!’ No: prayer of praise is a Christian prayer, for all of us. In the Mass, every day, when we sing the Holy, Holy, Holy … This is a prayer of praise: we praise God for his greatness, because He is great. We say beautiful things to Him, because we happy for His greatness [It. perché ci piace che sia così]. ‘But, Father! I am not able…I have to…’ Well, you’re able to shout when your team scores a goal, and you are not able to sing praises to the Lord? To come out of your shell ever so slightly to sing [His praise]? Praising God is completely gratis. [In it] we do not ask [Him to give us anything]: we do not express gratitude for anything [He has given]; we praise [Him]!

So as you bring out the chips and salsa, turn on the TV, greet friends, and wait for the kickoff, think about Pope Francis’ words. As you shout for joy when your team makes a touchdown today, think about his words. Then next Sunday as you sit in church remember his words, and do not be afraid to shout and sing for joy. For our God is the King of Glory!


  1. It is unfortunate that we have been such a Euro-centric Church only until recent history (16c) when european explorers brought the Faith (and its form of politics/government) to the New world.
    As a liturgist, us Catholics are not used to “shouting out to the Lord” in our formal liturgy. Have you ever seen a rubric where it states “at this point, the priest invites the assembly to raise their hands; clap their hands; sing out “Praise you Jesus!.
    Of course this CAN be found in evangelical and “spirit-filled” churches where there is no formal liturgy.
    There is no reason why folks in the pew can’t shout out “Praise Jesus!
    Amen! during a homily. yes, yes, it will raise lots of eyebrows but one should not hinder the Holy Spirit. I have seen this done at parishes that are predominatly black and it is a joy to worship with them.
    Those who are blessed to have a pastoral team committed to good liturgy understand all this while others have never experienced a Spirit filled liturgy. It is not for everyone just like contemporary christian music or traditional hymns is not for everyone but being catholic means to be open to all forms of expression.

  2. If you want to know what a paradigm of enthusiastic church music is, listen to a New Orleans black Baptist choir praising the Lord in Gospel music, but you need to experience the great phalanx of sound itself, not some electronic echo of it. They’re indescribably joyous and loud.

    The New Orleans Jazz Fest will be on at the end of April-beginning of May. If you’re in the neighborhood, come spend some time in the Gospel tent. (The Boss will also be performing this year. Wonder what he has to say about current Catholic music.)

    1. @Ann Olivier – comment #2:
      Yes! the Gospel stage at Jazz Fest is inspiring! If you go, be sure to stop by the the Gentilly stage to hear The Revivalists, my son Michael’s band. They will be playing a few hours before The Boss! (Yes that was a shameless plug from a proud papa of a young pastoral musician/touring indie rocker.)

  3. 1) I’m not sure that Denver fans will get the point of this post

    2) MY sports/religion fascination continues to be with corporate identity. It’s very common for me to overhear the performances of Chicago sports teams using “we” (“we” needed to score more in the second half; “we” are really bad at shootouts; “we” have to get on the score board earlier), but even among my churchy/liturgisch co-workers and friends, the Church is consistently an “it” or a “they” – rarely, if ever, a “we” …

    3) It’s a dangerous path toward stereotyping to think that the ONLY way the Spirit is manifest among Christians gathered for worship is in “spontaneous” acclamation (if you observe services where this “spontaneity” occurs you will discover that it is laden with cues as any RC ritual dialogue; also kind of choreographed); sometimes you CAN, but other times you CAN’T see or hear the Spirit in action.

  4. Good for Francis! Too often, instead of looking like the Chosen People of God we look more like the Frozen People of God.

  5. On 1 and 2 June, at the Olympic Stadium of Rome, the 37th Meeting of the Charismatic Renewal in the Catholic Church will take place. For the first time, a Pope will be in attendance.


    Pope Francis on the return flight from Rio de Janerio, stated his position on the Charismatic Renewal

    “You asked about the movement of Charismatic Renewal. I tell you something. In the years – the late 70s and early 80s – I could not encounter them. Once, when I talked to them, I said this sentence: “They confused a liturgical celebration with a Samba school!” That’s what I said. I have regretted it. Then I got to know the movement better. It is also true that the movement has proceeded under good leadership in a nice way. And now I believe that this movement does much good in general to the Church. In Buenos Aires I have often gathered them together and once a year I celebrated a Mass with all of them in the cathedral. I have always favoured them, after I had changed my mind, as I have seen the good that they did.

    I liked the way he was honest about his earlier reaction. On the same flight in response to another question he praised the Orthodox liturgy. The chanting of some of the Russian monks in my CD collection has such a tempo and intensity to it that it sounds very charismatic. Then there are the very deep Russian bases. I have another recording in which an epistle is chanted beginning at an extremely deep note and rising a half tone at the end of each phrase with last tone rise being the ending response which is Amin!

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